The year 2019 has seen numerous marijuana legalization bills introduced as well as pledges from various governors to pursue legalization during the year’s legislative sessions.
A new bill introduced in Minnesota not only is a tongue-in-cheek nod of support for marijuana legalization, but it may show that Minnesota is closer to joining states in legalization more than residents have foreseen.
HF bill 420 is a bill that Sen. Melisa Fransen and Rep. Mike Freiberg are co-sponsoring, and both Democrats are prepared to see significant opposition. However, the two legislators, along with several others, believe now is an ideal time to introduce such legislation and perhaps even see it make progress through the legislative committees.
The bill does face a significant battle before approval could occur, since the medical marijuana law was only approved after rigorous debate among the Minnesota legislators. With Michigan legalizing marijuana in 2018, the supporters of the bill feel that now is an ideal time to get similar legislation moving in their own state and begin creating a framework for marijuana sales by 2022.
The new governor in Minnesota has a more open-minded policy in regard to marijuana legislation than his predecessor, as he has noted that a bill that reaches his desk will be signed. Meanwhile, the Democratic majority in the House is also a benefit in the fight to move this legislation through. The struggle will be the Senate, where the majority is held by Republicans — albeit with a slim margin.
HF bill 420 is at least a stepping stone to the discussion and eventual legalization of marijuana for recreational use. As the bill is currently written, it would allow adults over the age of 21 to grow, cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis, cannabis products, and accessories.
The bill also addresses expunging records for individuals who violated Minnesota law, section 152.027 prior to Aug. 1, 2019. This particular law relates to marijuana in the state, including possession of small amounts and sales. The bill stipulates that an individual may be eligible for expungement and will be given a hearing once they submit a petition for such a move.